Hey, who said it had to be predetermined to be professional wrestling?
If you've listened to enough old timers talk about wrestling, there are a few names that are bound to come up. Lou Thesz, Bruno Sammartino, Gorgeous George, etc. But of all the names you'll hear, two belong to men who created the entire concept of professional wrestling. They are Frank Gotch and George Hackenschmidt, and they had a feud so good, that you couldn't have faked it any better.
Let's go back to the turn of the century. See, Hackenschmidt had been a professional wrestler, (a real one,) for years in Europe, and had gained a reputation for being virtually unbeatable. Actually, he wasn't just unbeatable, nobody could even last half an hour with the guy. He wrecked any opposition that came his way for years with his monstrous strength and quickness, and knew no real rival of any sort until a trip to America brought him in contact with a Midwestern farm boy named Frank Gotch.
Right from the start things got catty. Gotch, a perpetually underestimated man, had finally won the American Heavyweight Championship from a man named Tom Jenkins, but when Gotch challenged Hackenschmidt, George faced Jenkins instead, beat him, and then head back to England without ever responding to Gotch's challenge.
A full 3 years later, Gotch finally got his match, but Hackenschmidt was so overconfident that he barely bothered to train for it, saying publicly that no American could ever defeat him. Big mistake. Gotch shocked Hackenschmidt, and the world, by not only going toe to toe with perhaps the greatest wrestler to ever live, but by bullying him around and taking the first fall, (all wrestling matches were two out of three falls at the time.) Then, after shaking Gotch's hand, Hackenschmidt left and refused to wrestle the second or third falls. So Gotch had done the impossible and beaten the Russian Lion for the World Championship. The two men had shaken hands and all was over, right?
Nope. Big George wasn't done. In fact, the second he was out of Gotch's sight, he immediately began to say loudly to anyone who would listen that Frank Gotch was a cheating cheaterface and wasn't the champion of a grilled cheese sandwich, much less the world. Naturally, Gotch was plenty annoyed when he heard that the guy who had shaken his hand was calling him a raging pantywaist behind his back.
So the build began for a rematch of epic proportions. Hack got himself a hype man named Curley and started to hype himself as the true World Champion, while Gotch trained in the countryside against 4 and 5 opponents a session like something out of Rocky. Hearing about this made Hackenschmidt freak out, which brings us to an exhibition match that Hack wrestled a mere 3 days before the big fight where he appeared to sustain a knee injury. And I say "appeared" because there is no evidence that this injury ever took place except for the word of Hack and his manager Curly.
So when Gotch beat Hack fair and square 3 days later to retain his title, guess what happened? CONTROVERSY TIME. All hell broke loose as accusations of Gotch fixing the fight, or a serious Hack injury or even that the two had agreed on the outcome together began cropping up everywhere. Even to this day, it isn't known what really went down or how. But it laid the groundwork for all of the genuinely fixed matches and feuds that would springboard off of it all around the nation. Without Hack being a huge jerk, there might be no wrestling today as we know it, and babyfaces worldwide still struggle to live up to the Gotch standard.